When It Comes to Health Insurance, Your Weight is More than a Number on a Scale—It Has a Dollar Sign!

Woman Standing on ScaleTime may or may not be money—but a little bit of extra weight certainly is! People who are overweight and obese can expect to pay higher health insurance premiums. Since various studies have shown that obesity can lead to many health conditions and diseases, overweight individuals are asked to help defray some of the costs associated with extra weight. Trying to lose weight may seem frustrating and difficult, but losing a certain amount of weight could actually result in a cost savings when it comes to health insurance.

Male or female—you can expect to pay extra if you do not fall within your health insurance provider’s optimum weight range. In spite of some recent studies that indicate a bit of extra weight is good for you, you’ll probably have to pay the added costs if you do not have a normal body mass index (BMI). Men have it worse if their BMI falls in the obese category; they can expect to pay 29% more on average for their health insurance costs. This translates into a cost of roughly $207 per month as opposed to the trimmer cost of $169 if they fall within the prescribed normal range. Interestingly, men who weigh too little for their height can also see an increase in their rate at about 9% on average.

Women tend to pay 24% more on average if their BMI is in the obese range. Even going slightly beyond the normal range by a pound or two could add dollars to your health insurance costs. Overweight people who do not qualify as obese may also see an increase in proportion to their weight if it deviates from a normal BMI range. This rate will likely vary from one insurance provider to the next.

The logic of the increase is naturally based on numbers. The increased rates are designed to help offset the higher medical risks associated with extra weight. Overweight people are not alone when it comes to paying an increased rate for health insurance. Women smokers also pay 22% more on average for health insurance; men who smoke pay 9% more on average for their coverage.

As challenging as it can be to lose weight, losing it is good for your health insurance rates – as well as you overall health.

Carrie McLean

About Carrie McLean

Carrie is responsible for Customer Service & Retention at eHealthInsurance’s Customer Care Center. She has over 15 years of experience managing customer support teams, both at eHealthInsurance and Harley Davidson Motorcycles.Carrie is also licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 States & the District of Columbia. Since beginning at eHealth in 2007, she has helped thousands of people find health coverage that fits their needs. Carrie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Accounting and an advanced degree certification in Professional Development in Supervisory Management. Google+ | LinkedIn


  1. ManasaEdward says:

    One more reason to keep weight under control,
    though, in my country the concept of health insurance isn’t so popular ..
    My insurance agents, charge high premium for variety of reasons, weight ain’t one of them yet ..

  2. Neil Cook says:

    Obesity is the term that brings numerous problems in human body. I have been suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure due to over weight. Now a day, it’s my biggest tension and I really want back my normal weight.

  3. It’s a shame that bigger people has to pay more when it comes to health insurance, that’s why I’m trimming down and adopting a healthier lifestyle. It’s hard work but no one ever said it was easy.

  4. I read articles like this and I just get depressed. I know I should make it even more reason for me to lose weight, but it’s just so freaking tough. I don’t eat much at all and I move around as much as the next guy, but I tend to gain weight a lot more than others. My buddy has all the chocolate and sodas that he wants, but I’ve never seen him once worry about weight gain. Now that I’m older I need to worry about paying more for health insurance and it just sucks all the way.

  5. Extra weight means extra tension. Actually fat cells secrete different toxins, causing physiological stressors. I agree with you, that women are mostly affected with weight gaining problem.

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